Letting People be People on Facebook

Bully-Scholarship-Edition-1-iconBullies come in many shapes.  Some look fierce and others look innocent.  Bullying styles also vary.  Most bullies are blatant with their physical and mental torture.

Yet, the bullies who truly fly under the radar of society are invasive with their mental torture.  I call them parasites.

Bullies pray upon the preconceived weak for pleasure.  This goes back to my shallow happiness theory.  In the post, I explored religious zealots and their aggression towards those who don’t share their faith.  Most, if not all in my humble opinion, religious zealots can easily fall under the category of bully.  Religious zealots use many forms of bullying.

Yet I digress.

The blatant bullies are preferable.  If a potential victim had the choice (they never do), blatant bullies are the best choice.  With blatant bullies, they’re always angry and physically violent.  A victim can see them coming and they have time to brace for impact or hide.

Parasitic bullies are worse.  They infiltrate the minds of their victims with precision.  The victim will feel worthless, lifting the spirits of their so called parasitic bully friend in their self-loathing diatribe.  Specifically, the victim thanks the bully for being such a good friend even though the victim doesn’t deserve the friendship.

The victim thinks their low self-esteem is their fault and no one else’s much less their very dear friend.  Sometimes the victim commits suicide and blames their preconceived short comings in the letter they leave.  They also leave behind the preverbal friend who gets loads of sympathetic attention from society for trying to be such a good friend to the recently deceased.  The parasitic bully gets what they want – adoring attention – and no one ever realizes their manipulative machinations.  Success.

The worst bullies are the combinations.  They are a combination of parasite and blatant.  Their talent is infiltrating the mind and then physically abusing the victim.  Combination bullies are the worst because they want to keep their victims alive to feed off the misery from their victims.  They’ll hit their victim and the victim will think they deserve it.

I’ve only mentioned three types of bullies when there are several.  The newest being cyber bullies that torment their victims through social sites and cell phone communication.

Recently, I discovered that I was previously victimized by parasites.

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I’ve grown to like Facebook.  It wasn’t always that way.  There was a time that I was tempted to delete my profile.  Then I found a use for it.  Facebook helps me keep in touch with friends I’ve made at conferences.  Later, I discovered I could express myself with little social editing and no one could reprimand me for being me.  If they tried, I could delete them as a friend.

In certain environments, it’s necessary to alter one’s personality to suite the environment.  It isn’t appropriate to act like I’m at home at work.  Cursing, listening to certain music, and sarcasm pertaining to sexual innuendoes are inappropriate.  A person always must show their best while at work for the sake of professionalism and advancement.  It means constantly social editing.

Social editing means adjusting thoughts and actions before…acting, curbing instinct and erring on the side of caution.  Instead of automatically saying “sh**,” I say “snicker doodles.” Instead of saying exactly what I’m thinking, I will find better words to use.  The new words would soften the blow while retaining the same meaning.

I work at a high school.  That means I always have to watch my every thought and action.  Kids need a roll model.  If they can’t get it at home, school is one of the few places they can find them.

facebook-iconEditing isn’t as physically tiring as changing personalities every time someone steps out their front door.  Yet, it’s still exhausting and I still need a place to be me.  Facebook became that place for me.

I love it.  I can be my awkward self in attempting to post silly statuses.  Otherwise, what’s the point in posting a status at all?  I can make mistakes and not get reprimanded for them.

What I love most are the pictures with sayings that often mirror my thoughts and feelings.  I share those with my Facebook friends as another way to share my personality or because I think it’s something some of my friends would enjoy.  There are also articles that I find interesting or I’m passionate about that I share with my friends.

One day, I shared a picture that made fun of Republican logic.  I found it funny and close to the truth so I shared it.

A Facebook “friend” commented on the picture and felt victimized by my sharing of the picture.  That comment brought a cacophony of thoughts, feelings, and gave me a disturbing realization.

Going to college right out of high school doesn’t mature the incoming Freshman.  That is something they must do on their own not through any crazy coming of age ritual.

In some respects, college is a lot like high school only without the parents.  The high school drama follows the students like a bad plague that spreads to the rest of the collegiate population.  There are popular students, there are social outcasts, and there are bullies.  Since blatant bullies can easily be arrested in colleges whereas they only had to deal with high school officials, they have very little success victimizing others than their highly successful parasitic counterparts.

College parasites thrive off the plague that is the high school drama, they find it easy to move among and latch onto unsuspecting victims.  That’s what the Facebook comment made me realize, I was a victim of these parasites and never knew it till now.

In my early years of college, I was amazed at how much it reminded me of high school.  Before I knew it, I was in a clique and trapped in all the dramatic feelings associated.  That’s when I was targeted by parasitic bullies.

It was more than one parasite, sometimes they converge upon a victim in groups.

They were very subtle in their mind games.  I would say something, often exactly what I was thinking.  One of them would act hurt by what I said and they would force me to apologize.  This would go on until I rarely said anything.

This was detrimental to my academic studies and damaged my fragile self-esteem.  Yet, the bullying didn’t stop with that particular group.

It took me three years to reverse the damage that parasitic group cause.  The last few years of my considerably long undergraduate existence, I managed to bounce back.  I was sure of myself, I spoke up in class, and I was happy.

In graduate school, I ran into another group of parasites.  Their tactic was much different.  Instead of pretending to be hurt by my words, they didn’t allow me to say anything.  Whenever I wanted to contribute in class, they would talk over me, drowning out my words.  This continued the first year of graduate school and I learned fast never to speak.

In the beginning of my second and final year of graduate school, I went into counseling to build my assertiveness.  By then, I had been in and out of counseling to know when I needed to go back when I’m in a slump.  These parasites were partially successful because I didn’t realize what they did to me.  I thought the entire problem was my fault.  The parasites were a failure because I immediately sought help.

I am grateful to my Facebook friend for helping me realize these things, to put parts of my past in a different perspective.  What I don’t appreciate is their ineptitude on the workings of Facebook.

Foolishly, I assumed that she would know about the hide button.  A user can hide specific friendly posts or all posts from a particular friend.  That’s what I always did.  I didn’t comment to a friend that I didn’t like their posts.  I simply use the hide option.  If I didn’t like any of their posts and still wanted to keep them around for contact purposes, I would hide all of their posts.  Other times, I would simply defriend them.

There are people in this world, even in Facebook, where their personalities violently clash with mine that I would have to let them go.

This is the message I have for that specific friend:

Obviously, you don’t know me that well if you thought that picture was for the express purpose of insulting you.  I didn’t even know you were a Republican.

I have to be less than who I am in my daily life.  Facebook is where I want to be me, where I don’t have to worry about repercussions from my friends.  That’s because Facebook provides services so that I or my friends cannot be offended by each other.

There are many posts from friends that offend or bore me.  I’m offended by the religious posts.  I don’t care that “Jesus loves me,” I don’t care that you think “Christ is the ‘Lord’ of everyone,” and I don’t care that you go to church every Sunday.  The posts with cute little pictures saying that your daughter loves you bore me.  The posted pictures of your daughters and sons doing supposedly cute things sometimes interest me, but I mostly think they’re stupid.  I don’t care that your house is a mess and the only person that cleans it is you.

To me, the fact that you’re the only person that cleans the house with the husband, two kids, and menagerie of animals is your personal problem.  Instead of whining about it on Facebook, do something about it.

Perhaps I would find more appreciation for the family posts if I were a wife too.  Yet, that doesn’t interest me.  I like not having kids.

Personally, I consider the thousands of kids that occupy the high school where I work to by my kids.  Every week I tell them to put their garbage in the trash, I have their lost items delivered to them, I help them with their homework, I’m constantly reminding them of the rules, etc.

Being forced to do that at home is abhorrent to me.  I don’t care how fulfilling children make your life.  They would keep me from doing what I love the most: scholarly work and writing.

In the future, when I post something that you find unharmonious to your wellbeing, I suggest you exorcise your right to use the hide option like I do to every post I dislike.  If you find my whole personality completely perpendicular to your own instead of parallel, then feel free to defriend me.

Above all, don’t ever tell me to stifle my voice.  I will perceive it as a bullying tactic and I will take vital steps (defriending) to make sure you don’t do it again.  Call it a shell shocked reflex to avoid history repeating itself.

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One thought on “Letting People be People on Facebook

  1. Al says:

    Its called freedom of speech for a reason. Religous zealots forcefeed a lot of their bull on everyone else. I have to hide it or actively remove it. They can do the same. People don’t like your venting, they can choose not to see it rather than actively belittling for not agreeing.

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